SF Giants Sign RHP Daniel Alvarez & OF Andy Sugilio to MILB Deals
By Marc Delucchi
The SF Giants have added right-handed pitcher Daniel Alvarez and outfielder Andy Sugilio on minor-league contracts.
After already adding a number of minor-league free agents this offseason, the SF Giants signed two more on Friday. In a report by GPT, the Giants signed outfielder Andy Sugilio and added right-handed pitcher Daniel Alvarez on minor-league contracts.
Alvarez signed as an international free agent with the New York Yankees out of Venezuela in 2014. Still just 24-years old, Alvarez has already had a strong season at Double-A and spent the 2020 season at the Yankees alternate site. He began his career as a starter but has pitched solely out of the bullpen since the winter of 2017.
Without high-end velocity, his fastball historically works from 90-93 mph, Alvarez has built a well-rounded repertoire. To limit opponents’ ability to square up his fastball, he mixes between a two-seamer and cutter as well. His secondaries though are his best pitches. Alvarez’s curveball is a potential above-average offering and pairs well with a palmball. A palmball is an iteration of a changeup that generates armside movement closer to that of a screwball.
In 2019, in his age-23 season, Alvarez was the closer with the Yankees Double-A affiliate in Trenton. While the Eastern League is historically a pitcher-friendly environment, his performance was still impressive. In 46 games, Alvarez recorded 21 saves, completed 58.1 innings, struck out 76, and held a strong 2.31 ERA. His 3.5 walks per nine innings were a bit higher than ideal, but far from a major red flag.
Sugilio is far further from reaching the Major Leagues but carries some very impressive tools. Signed in 2013 by the Cincinnati Reds out of the Dominican Republic, Sugilio did not reach full-season ball until 2018 and spent all of 2019 with the Reds High-A affiliate in Daytona.
Speed is Sugilio’s carrying tool. On par with former Reds top prospect Billy Hamilton, Sugilio was rated the fastest baserunner in Cincinnati’s system by Baseball America. His speed should give him the ability to play center field one day, but he’s struggled with jumps so far in his career. He should have the arm strength to play right field as well, giving him a decent chance to be a versatile fifth outfielder.
While he was signed and developed as a switch-hitter, Sugilio abandoned hitting from the right side altogether near the end of 2019. Since reaching full-season ball, he’s presented massive platoon splits and consistently generated more extra-base hit power from the left side. Still, even with the platoon advantage, Sugilio produced just a .385 slugging against right-handed pitchers in 2019.
Most believe Sugilio’s strength and power potential are limited by his lanky 6’2” frame, but Reds prospect writer Doug Gray believes “an entire swing overhaul” could help him tap into power. Sugilio’s swing is built for the 1980s and consistently puts the ball on the ground to allow him to take advantage of his 70 to 80-grade speed. However, that’s obviously going to limit his power potential without severe changes.
Sugilio would have spent the 2020 season at Double-A and it would have been interesting to see if he continued producing solid batting averages (career .286 hitter) against better pitchers and defenses. He will not be 25 until next October though, so playing at Double-A next season would not be far behind many prospects’ development.
Daniel Alvarez will get a chance to compete for a spot in the SF Giants bullpen in Spring Training and even if he does not make the Opening Day roster, would offer strong depth at Triple-A. Andy Sugilio may not offer the same big-league depth in 2021, but has a set of tools worth allowing the Giants player development and minor-league coaching staffs a chance to work with.